Dr. Michael Shea – Embodiment of the Senses Through Yoga & Meditation

Join my special guest, Michael Shea PhD, for a discussion titled Embodiment of the Senses Through Yoga & Meditation. During this conversation we discussed Michael’s new book titled, The Biodynamics of the Immune System: Balancing the Energies the of the Body with the Cosmos. You can preorder his new book on Amazon by clicking here.

Michael and I are pleased to announce the launch of our new course called All Levels Meditation & Yoga Course.Check out this new course by clicking here.

Visit Michael on his website here sheaheart.com

You can listen to the full podcast here for free.

Todd McLaughlin

Wow! I’m really excited to have Dr. Michael Shea again here in person at Native Yoga Center for today’s episode of Native Yoga Toddcast, which is titled Embodiment of the Senses Through Yoga and Meditation. Michael, how are you doing today?

Dr. Michael Shea

Well, it’s been a busy day because I spent the morning at the car dealership and looking at their giant aquarium waiting for the tires to be rotated and for an oil change to happen. So an entire morning at a car dealership gave me a really good opportunity to meditate on an aquarium.

Todd McLaughlin

Nice. Do you have any profound realizations in the process of staring at the fish?

Dr. Michael Shea

Always the profound realization is how wonderful space is, you know, when I get caught up and you know, not wanting to be where I’m at, at a car dealership, because I got better things to do, of just releasing my attention out into space. But in this case, it was the biggest aquarium I’ve ever seen. And just releasing my attention to the aquarium and then looking out into space as well. 

Todd McLaughlin

That’s cool. You know, we have two really big announcements to share today. Number one, I’m so excited to have a copy of your brand new book called the Biodynamics of the Immune System: Balancing the Energies of the Body with the Cosmos. Whoa, that’s a lot. 

Dr. Michael Shea

Yeah, he’s a big, thick steak if you’re a meat eater, but it’s also a big soy burger if you’re a vegetarian.

Todd McLaughlin

And so I’m really excited to have the chance to ask you some questions about your most recent publication. Also, you and I have created a course and today on the launch of this podcast are launching our course together called All Levels Yoga & Meditation Course. And so you know, I had a lot of fun filming this with you. And I’m excited to release it today. And it’s available on our platform nativeyogaonline.com. The link for that is in the description below for anyone listening would like to check it out. Michael, from us filming that course do you have any takeaways from the experience? What are you excited to share with people that are interested in taking that course.

Dr. Michael Shea

I think meditation in general, and yoga, is constantly evolving in our culture. And when you study yoga and meditation, because I’ve been studying it now for 45 years, something like that, is just realizing like it’s so highly nuanced. And the next teacher says, Well, have you tried this? And the next teacher well why don’t you try this to refine your practice? So there’s never really an end game. That’s the one thing I learned. But there’s a continual opening, you know, as long as you have that willingness to be open to a teacher and to a new class. And as I said, you know, earlier when we were just talking, before we started, I just like to stay with what I know versus what is trending and what’s current. I have to tell you just a short story. I’ve been studying all year with with a Lama from Tibetan medical background. But he was in Sikkim, and then in Bhutan in the summer, and he was broadcasting from there. And he was at a very high level. It’s called advisory on a tantric Buddhist conference in the capital city of Bhutan, in which all the heavy hitter Lamas from Tibet and that area of the world you know, we’re coming together for this conference, and the one thing he said is that because it was going on our planet these days, the veil of secrecy of all of these different meditation practices need to be lifted, and the secrecy needs to be taken away because we are in such an important time on this planet right now with the intensity of the polarization and duality. So, you know, one of the things I share in my book is, not necessarily sharing secrets, but sharing the techniques that can help. But I understand why some of that knowledge, some of the mystical knowledge, or the meditation knowledge, or yogic knowledge, in general, is secret. It’s just because teachers want to have you go through a progression. Because of your aptitude. Some students can’t go to the end game right away. They can’t, you know, go right out into space, you know, and stay grounded at the same time. So, at any rate, it’s exciting because I feel liberated in wanting to share more and more and that book is one vehicle of sharing more, in terms of what was formerly considered to be secret knowledge. And again, that veil has been lifted. I’ve never been good at holding secrets anyway, even my mother knew that. 

Todd McLaughlin

There is a term in a book that you had given me a while back ago called the phenomenon of basic space. Can you explain that?

Dr. Michael Shea

Well, my teacher who was originally the Dalai Lama wanted all of his students to do Buddha scholarships. So I spent 10 years doing very intense Buddhist scholarship. And now I’ve even lost track of the question, explaining basic space and phenomenon. Yeah, see, I went into basic space just now.

Todd McLaughlin

I’ll pull you back in if you drift too far over there. 

Dr. Michael Shea

I’ll thank you. 

Todd McLaughlin

I’ll reel you in.

Dr. Michael Shea

Right, right. So it was because I want my answer to link to, you know, this discussion of, of yoga and meditation. And so as a scholar of Tibetan Buddhist literature, there’s really the two highest level people that you know, those are the writers you go for, in the Kyagu and the Nyingma, tradition, or sometimes it’s known as the Xhosa tradition. It is from the book The Precious Treasury of The Basic Space of Phenomena by Longchenpa. It’s also called Yoga. But he’s considered to be like the most incredible Lama that could give words to the ineffability of the infinite nature of our mind, and so forth, and all those things that we hear about and that we’re trying to achieve. And that’s one of his books. So that was recommended to me and I gave you a copy. And it basically explains the view of Tibetan Buddhism, before you get to meditation, it’s helpful to understand the view. And I think that’s also an important thing to understand about Buddhist meditation, you don’t just jump on a cushion and sit in cross legged position, and so forth. But it’s an understanding that there’s a view here, and the view is basically that all phenomena is infinitely equal. And we hear that as no self, you know, that we don’t have a solid self, and so forth, and that we’re all interconnected. And it’s described as being empty and other metaphors, you know, that are used, but he explains it the best. He explains it the best of how you rest into the element of space. And I’m talking about the element of space from Indo Tibetan point of view, you know, space, wind, fire, water, earth, and so forth. So how you rest your mind. That’s the sea, this is yoga and meditation, how do you rest your mind and body into the element of space where it all began?

Todd McLaughlin

So when you were talking about being at the Toyota dealership today, and staring at the fish tank, and being able to let your mind go into space, is there a way to explain a technique that allows one to achieve that release into space?

Dr. Michael Shea

Yeah, the basic technique is, well, again, you know, it’s relatively simple. And it’s one of these things it’s been secret for a while. It’s called looking into the wisdom of the universe, or looking into the center of the universe or looking into the center of space. All these are metaphors for the same thing, the infinite nature of the totality of life, and the universe. In general, so, but the technique is actually quite simple. And you know, you’re a yogi. And as a practicing yogi, I’m kind of a want to be yogi. I call myself a bogey, you know, kind of indulgent yogi. But the posture is always the first thing, you know, you said, You’ve got to embody your senses. And that means not labeling what you’re seeing, not labeling what you’re hearing, not labeling what you’re feeling, you come into a posture that allows you to sit still, and just be with your senses. Because you have to notice if you’re labeling a lot, oh, this is that, that is that, this is that. Labeling takes us into the head and out of our body and out of the experience of meditation and yoga.

You can listen to the full episode for free here: https://nativeyogacenter.buzzsprout.com

Thanks for reading this blog post from this YouTube video. Check out: 
Native Yoga Teacher Training – In Studio and Livestream – for info delivered to your email click this link here: https://info.nativeyogacenter.com/native-yoga-teacher-training-2023/

https://info.nativeyogacenter.com/native-yoga-teacher-training-2023/

New Student Livestream Special ~ Try 2 Weeks of Free Unlimited Livestream Yoga Classes  at Native Yoga Center. Sign into the classes you would like to take and you will receive an email 30 minutes prior to join on Zoom. The class is recorded and uploaded to nativeyogaonline.com ~ Click Here to join.

New Student FREE 30 Minute Yoga Meet & Greet ~ Are you new to Native Yoga Center and have questions that you would like us to address? Whether you are coming to In Studio, Livestream or Online Recorded Classes we offer a one time complimentary 30 minute zoom meeting to answer any questions you may have. Schedule a time that is convenient for you. Click Here

Native Yoga website: nativeyogacenter.com
Online Yoga Class Library: nativeyogaonline.com
Thai Massage info: palmbeachthaimassage.com
Native Yoga Blog: toddasanayoga.com
Instagram: @nativeyoga
YouTube channel: Native Yoga Center

Listen to the podcast here on our Podcast website: Native Yoga Toddcast

Please email special requests and feedback to info@nativeyogacenter.com

Barbara Courtille – Helping Yoga Teachers become successful Yoga Professionals

I am proud to present to you this episode called Helping Yoga Teachers become successful Yoga Professionals with Barbara Courtille. Barbara has been practicing Yoga for 25 years. It is her longest and greatest love. Barbara said, “Making Yoga my professional career is the best thing I have done.” If you know that this is the life you want to create for yourself, she can help you to make it happen. Check out this episode to hear tips that Barbara shares to help yogis level up.

​Visit Barbara on her website here: https://www.barbaracourtille.com
Follow here on Instagram here: @Barbara_courtille_yoga

You can listen to the full episode for free here.

Todd McLaughlin

Welcome to Native Yoga Toddcast, I’m so happy to have you here. Today, I have the chance to bring Barbara Courtille onto the show. Barbara is located in Sydney, Australia. She was kind enough to coordinate her schedule so the times could work where we could be on the other side of the world and join up here for a conversation. Please check her out at Barbaracourtile.com. Also on our Instagram page, @Barbara_courtille_yoga. And on that note, why wait any longer? Let’s get to it. 

I’m so excited to have Barbara Courtille here today with me, Barbara, how are things going for you?

Barbara Courtille

Great, I’m really happy to be talking to you on the other side of the world, Todd, thanks for having me.

Todd McLaughlin

I know, I love the fact that we can communicate like this through a platform like zoom, and the spoken word of the podcast and that it’s really an easy way to actually go about communicating. I love it. It’s kind of amazing, isn’t it?

Barbara Courtille

Yeah. And I’m a big fan of podcasts. I listen to yours amongst many others, as my learning and keeping motivated and just finding out what people are thinking all around the world and connecting to other yoga teachers who are you know, my favorite people, basically?

Todd McLaughlin

I hear you! Can you give me a little bit of your background and relation to how you first fell in love with yoga?

Barbara Courtille

Yeah, I started back in the 80s. In the late 80s. When I was you know, in my early 20. I had a boyfriend who was a yogi. And I was more of an artsy kid. You know, I was into art. I always wanted to be an artist. And I did that for many years. But his thing was yoga and meditation. He traveled to India and he used to do Iyengar yoga and headstands and kriyas and all sorts of weird stuff to me back then. Yeah. And he’s the one who took me to my first yoga class, which was an Iyengar class. And that was not actually a great experience. Because my first class I was expected to do handstands and all sorts of things that my body was not happy to do. So I can remember the teacher who was an older woman, well, older, probably younger than me now, but at the time, she seemed to kind of shame me. You know, in the Iyengar way that they do. She would just say “get up, you can do this.” So it wasn’t a great experience, that first yoga class. So it’s kind of a miracle that I’m still doing yoga all these years later. And it’s basically my whole life. 

Todd McLaughlin

That’s amazing. Was that in Sydney? You’re living in Sydney currently? Where did you grow up?

Barbara Courtille

My early years, I grew up in Paris till I was 10. And then I came to Sydney. So I’ve lived in Sydney, most of my life.

Todd McLaughlin

Nice. Was that first class in Sydney?

Was that first practice session that you had with your boyfriend and Iyengar teacher in Australia, or was that somewhere else?

Barbara Courtille

No, totally in Sydney. Yes. 

Todd McLaughlin 

Gotcha. And then from there, if you were not enamored, and you walked away from that sounds like maybe you saying, “What in the world was that?” What then was your next step? Or how long was it before you had another yoga practice experience?

Barbara Courtille

I think after that I did some meditation. And that didn’t gel with me as well. It was very strict Buddhist meditation. So I didn’t have a great start to yoga, but for some reason, I think I ended up in some what were then called Hatha classes. Back then you used to do them like in church halls or at you know, the community center or whatever it was available. It wasn’t like the fancy yoga studios like your studio. There was none of that stuff back then. And it was very much in people’s lounge rooms and all that. So I think I probably found some much more mellow, lovely kind of teachers that weren’t gonna ask me to do anything nasty like turn upside down. It took me many years before I could do a proper handstand with all the proper, you know, structure that you need for that.

Yeah. 

Todd McLaughlin

Do you have a teacher that you can say that you credit your learning to or from? Or have you just learned from a whole bunch of different teachers along the way?

Barbara Courtille

I’ve learned from a whole bunch of teachers along the way. Yeah, I’ve never been a lineage kind of teacher either. I’ve explored different lineages. I think it’s just in my nature to try different things and find my own way. 

So I’ve done a lot of Hatha Yoga, then I went back to the Iyengar yoga, believe it or not. Then I was into Jivamukti Yoga for a long time. And then I was more into vinyasa. Then I was into Yin.  I was also doing sound healing. So I’ve done all this stuff, restorative yoga, and I just keep going and changing and learning as much as I can and incorporating what what resonates with me.

Todd McLaughlin

Wonderful. What does a practice session look like for you today?

Barbara Courtille

So this morning, I did some yoga in bed. 

Todd McLaughlin

Nice. 

Barbara Courtille

And then I got up and did a bit of asana practice, very simple. Plugging into the body noticing where our whole tension, which for me is generally in the upper body, so I do a lot of work on the upper body, opening the chest, opening the heart, I work a lot on the chakra system and the energy body. So I do some meditation to tune in some chanting to feel where the energy is flowing, where it might be stagnant, where it might be overflowing. And it’s from that observation that then direct my practice. So it will look different every day. But there are some things that tend to always be there, like the throat chakra is a bit of a weakness for me. I just had a little bit of manuka honey and did a bit of throat exercises before talking to you because it’s always a little bit weak. That part for me, yeah, the upper body, a lot of upper body, I’m quite strong in my lower body. I’m quite grounded, as by nature spend a lot of time in nature. I like to meditate in nature every day, if I can. If the weather’s good, so I’m lucky I live near some nature, Bush, we call it here in Australia. And so I’ll go and find a rock and I’ll do a bit of meditation. And that’s, that’s really my most nurturing practice meditation.

Todd McLaughlin

That’s cool. I noticed that you have a couple pictures or pictures of you practicing on a rock is that the rock that you’re talking about?

Barbara Courtille

That rock is called Swamis rock. It’s not where I live, but it’s where I go on retreat. So two or three or four times a year, if I’m lucky, I’ll go to the ashram which is not far from where I live. Maybe an hour away in nature. And that’s a particular rock where a swami here in Australia has been practicing for many, many years. So it’s got a lot of great energy.

Todd McLaughlin

Nice. Do I noticed that you are a yoga coach and mentor, when did that role come into play for you?

Barbara Courtille

I think it probably came into play fully when COVID came along. And when a lot of teachers suddenly had to become or realize that they were business owners, and that they had to find their own community, their own tribe and take charge of their own business or their own passion. Yeah, without relying on studios, or whatever they were relying on before that time. So that’s when a lot of yoga teachers, as you know, you know, kind of had a little bit of a pivot into becoming more business minded because they had to. Yes. So there was a lot of demand when COVID came along, when everyone was having, you know,

Todd McLaughlin

Yeah, that was pretty intense. Very intense. Wasn’t it? Amazing that now we can like talk like it’s past tense?

Barbara Courtille

Yeah, no, it’s great.

It’s really great to find wisdom. We survived on a lot of different levels. 

Todd McLaughlin

I agree.

Barbara Courtille

I actually think yoga teachers did exceptionally well if we can put them all in a group because obviously, we’re all different within that group. And as a tribe, I think they, from what I’ve observed, did really well in terms of like pivoting and changing, keeping their spirits up and keeping the spirits of all the people around them up? You know, it was It wasn’t an easy task. So congratulations to all the yoga teachers out there.

You can listen to the full episode for free here: https://nativeyogacenter.buzzsprout.com

Thanks for reading this blog post from this YouTube video. Check out: 👇
Native Yoga Teacher Training – In Studio and Livestream – for info delivered to your email click this link here: https://info.nativeyogacenter.com/native-yoga-teacher-training-2023/

https://info.nativeyogacenter.com/native-yoga-teacher-training-2023/

New Student Livestream Special ~ Try 2 Weeks of Free Unlimited Livestream Yoga Classes  at Native Yoga Center. Sign into the classes you would like to take and you will receive an email 30 minutes prior to join on Zoom. The class is recorded and uploaded to nativeyogaonline.com ~ Click Here to join.

New Student FREE 30 Minute Yoga Meet & Greet ~ Are you new to Native Yoga Center and have questions that you would like us to address? Whether you are coming to In Studio, Livestream or Online Recorded Classes we offer a one time complimentary 30 minute zoom meeting to answer any questions you may have. Schedule a time that is convenient for you. Click Here

Native Yoga website: nativeyogacenter.com
Online Yoga Class Library: nativeyogaonline.com
Thai Massage info: palmbeachthaimassage.com
Native Yoga Blog: toddasanayoga.com
Instagram: @nativeyoga
YouTube channel: Native Yoga Center

Listen to the podcast here on our Podcast website: Native Yoga Toddcast

Please email special requests and feedback to info@nativeyogacenter.com

Sifu Rubia ~ Prana & Qi – Two Paths to One Destination

I am happy to share this discussion I had with Tai Chi & Qi Gong teacher, Sufi Rubia. Rubia teaches a unique form of Tai Chi and we have the chance to share idea about the connections between the ancient practice of Qi Gong and Yoga. During this conversation she shares how she infuses Tai Chi movement into her daily living.

Visit Sifu Rubia on her website www.taichiwellness.online
Use the promo code FREEQI for a 100% discount on her Short Qi Gong Course.
You can follow her on Instagram at @weiwutaichi

You can listen to the full episode for free here.

Todd McLaughlin

Hello, welcome to Native Yoga Toddcast. Today I have a special guest named Sifu Rubia. And she is a Tai Chi & Qi Gong instructor. She also practices yoga. She’s based out of California. I recommend that you check out her website, taichiwellnwess.online. Check out her courses. She has Tai Chi courses, which are amazing, she gave me an opportunity to take her Tai Chi Fundamentals course of which I was able to participate and I enjoy immensely. Tai Chi is an incredible art form. I really think it goes well with yoga. She is also offering for those of you that would like to try a free course with her. There’s a promo code FREEQI. That’s for her course called Short QiGong Course. On that note, let’s go ahead and get started. I hope you enjoy this conversation as much as I did. I’m so delighted to have Sifu Rubia here with me today. Rubia, how are you doing?

Sifu Rubia

Hi, good. Good morning, or it’s afternoon for you. I’m well Todd, how are you?

Todd McLaughlin

I’m doing really well. I’m so excited to have a chance to speak with you. And I feel like I you said you just finished teaching a class. Is that true? Yeah, private class, private class. And you are a Tai Chi and Qi Gong practitioner and teacher?

Sifu Rubia

Correct. 

Todd McLaughlin

Wonderful. Can you help me understand the difference between Tai Chi and Chi Gong?

Sifu Rubia

Oh, well, Tai Chi is the martial expression of your Qigong practice, essentially. So Chi Gong is, for your Yogi listeners, is the equivalent to prana and Gong simply means to work, to cultivate, to toil. So a chi gong practice is just that. So you’re working on your lifeforce, your vital energy, through specific movements. There are many different system. Qigong systems out there that target different things. And so that’s the cultivation of your of your prana. And then the Tai Chi is the martial expression of that cultivation. And that’s a simple way to understand the difference between the two.

Todd McLaughlin

When you say martial expression, meaning the actual physical movements.

Sifu Rubia

Yeah, correct. So Tai Chi is also known as the Grand Ultimate for martial artists. And usually a typical path to your Tai Chi is a kung fu practice. So people evolve into their Tai Chi, but every Tai Chi movement has a martial expression to it. I don’t typically teach martial expressions just because the venue actually requires, often times, requires me to, to teach it more as a meditation, which it also is, so I teach it primarily as a moving meditation.

Todd McLaughlin

Nice. Can you give me some insight into how you got started? And what your first introduction to Tai Chi was?

Sifu Rubia

Sure, sure. The first Tai Chi class I went to I literally went and walked out? 

Todd McLaughlin

Have you felt weirded out by that first? Like, what was it like that? Sorry? What was it that that made you want to walk out like you were frustrated, or you thought it was weird or….

Sifu Rubia

All of that. It was a combination of a few things. And I remember the feeling very vividly. And by then I’d already had maybe a five year yoga practice. So I was familiar with mind body movement. But the Tai Chi just brought it to another level of being really, really present and uncomfortable. And I just, it was uncomfortable. And your ego gets in the way. And you know, like, there are layers to spiritual practice and your spiritual evolution. And that’s where I was at that moment in time. Struggling with with that part of myself, so yeah, I walked out of class. 15 years later, here we are, yes. 

Todd McLaughlin

Can I ask you where that was?

Sifu Rubia

Where was it? I think it was here in California. So I’m not from here. I’m from Canada. And from the East Coast, and the I was visiting or traveling here in California. And the person I was with was actually a teacher. And he brought me to class. And that’s how that started. And then it took me a couple of years after that before taking another class. Just because the experience was…. I was just so weirded out that I never even considered going back. And then the second time, I can’t even say that it’s stuck, but it wasn’t as uncomfortable. And then the third time is when it stuck.

Todd McLaughlin

Nice. What do you think about the third time that made it stick? What was it that caused you to feel that way?

Sifu Rubia

So I don’t know. I think I was in a much different place. I was, you know, a little more seasoned. I transcended my ego a little bit more and I was a little more open and receptive to the practice. So I guess that’s what made the difference. And I see that in people who show up to class. You always have to meet as a teacher, you know, you have to meet people where they are. It has to come from within. The first time I was not forced into a situation. But it wasn’t something I was willingly going into, I think that’s part of the breakdown that happened. So by the third time it was a willingness from me. So I have to answer that question. That’s really the difference.

Todd McLaughlin

What do you think intrigued you about it when you had that switch to where you were going from being pulled into class versus let me seek it out? You already had a yoga practice? So it sounds like you had cultivated a passion for movement and mind body awareness? What was it about tai chi that caused you to want to try it again? Was it that initial kind of pushback that you felt from being uncomfortable in that really focused space? Or do you think there was something about watching the movement and watching people practice that you that got you intrigued you? Can you put your finger on that?

Sifu Rubia

I love how you put that…. it’s actually the latter. So to really observe people doing tai chi, just watching them it’s meditative. So I think yes, that was definitely the pull back. Yeah. In that space. Yeah, I love that you brought that up.

Todd McLaughlin

Oh, that’s cool. Well, it’s funny, because the first time I saw Tai Chi was on a video. And I remember I was with a group of people. And I had a massage teacher that was really into tai chi, and he put the video on and I think, because the reaction of the other people in the room, they started to giggle and laugh a little bit, kind of like, what is this? What is this person doing? Because the person was moving so slow. And so I feel like my first impression got formed by the reaction of the others around me. I was intrigued. I thought, well, that looks really interesting? But I remember that everyone else is wanting to make fun so it didn’t let me form my own first initial experience. Then my second chance getting to come across Tai Chi, was in Thailand. I was studying Thai massage and my Thai massage teacher would go and teach Tai Chi. Really early in the morning in Chiang Mai, Thailand.  I remember going to a big soccer field. And more than 100 people would show up to practice. And I was blown away by the energy.   I thought it looked so easy, but then to try to actually follow was another story. I remember people saying, Wow, that guy, he’s a real Tai Chi master. Like he really knows what he’s doing. And so I’d sit back and just kind of watch him and but I still didn’t have that eye yet for being able to detect who the master at the art was. 

Can you? When you watch people practice? Is there something that you pick up on? When you watch their practice that gives you that indication? Obviously, you study it, and you teach it. So you have some understanding of these nuances. But can you clue me in a little bit as to what you look for?

You can listen to the full episode for free here: https://nativeyogacenter.buzzsprout.com

Thanks for reading this blog post from this YouTube video. Check out: 👇
Native Yoga Teacher Training – In Studio and Livestream – for info delivered to your email click this link here: https://info.nativeyogacenter.com/native-yoga-teacher-training-2023/

https://info.nativeyogacenter.com/native-yoga-teacher-training-2023/

New Student Livestream Special ~ Try 2 Weeks of Free Unlimited Livestream Yoga Classes  at Native Yoga Center. Sign into the classes you would like to take and you will receive an email 30 minutes prior to join on Zoom. The class is recorded and uploaded to nativeyogaonline.com ~ Click Here to join.

New Student FREE 30 Minute Yoga Meet & Greet ~ Are you new to Native Yoga Center and have questions that you would like us to address? Whether you are coming to In Studio, Livestream or Online Recorded Classes we offer a one time complimentary 30 minute zoom meeting to answer any questions you may have. Schedule a time that is convenient for you. Click Here

Native Yoga website: nativeyogacenter.com
Online Yoga Class Library: nativeyogaonline.com
Thai Massage info: palmbeachthaimassage.com
Native Yoga Blog: toddasanayoga.com
Instagram: @nativeyoga
YouTube channel: Native Yoga Center

Listen to the podcast here on our Podcast website: Native Yoga Toddcast

Please email special requests and feedback to info@nativeyogacenter.com

Sara Webb – Meditation is Medicine

Engage your listening senses with this conversation I had the pleasure of having with Sara Webb. Sara Webb is an author, inspirational speaker, and meditation healer empowering seekers to go from stress to success. Her life mission is to inspire people to access the power within themselves by teaching pocket-sized meditation techniques to improve daily happiness so people can bring the best versions of themselves to their own lives.

Visit Sara’s website at www.sarawebbsays.com
Check out Sara’s new book here: Amazon – Balboa Press – Barnes & Noble

Listen to the full conversation for free here.

During this conversation we discussed:

  • the importance of daily meditation
  • her passion for public speaking in the corporate environment
  • how to build trust after being harmed
  • how Sara has been able to recover from little “t” and BIG “T” trauma in her life
  • the role recovery has played in her healing journey
  • her books and her writing process
  • the importance of yoga practice in her life

And so MUCH more!

Remember to visit Sara’s website at www.sarawebbsays.com
Also don’t forget to check out Sara’s new book here: Amazon – Balboa Press – Barnes & Noble

Below is an excerpt form the conversation I had with Sara.

Todd McLaughlin

What is an example of a public speaking event that you’ve done recently.

Sara Webb

I’ve done all manner of things. I do a lot of corporate events, working directly with business owners and managers in order to help their staff deal with stress. I mean, a lot of times, we don’t realize the great power that we have with our breath. 

If we can realize that when we’re in that fight or flight mode, that we’re not breathing properly, we’re not breathing from the belly. That’s a physiological, ancient physiology that we have carried over from when we were hunters and gatherers. You know, this autonomic nervous system that we have breeds for us, and beats our hearts and controls our sweat glands and salivary glands and blinking. But when the sympathetic nervous system is activated, that’s what we typically call the “fight or flight.” We begin chest breathing from the upper part of our chest, which is really great if we need to actually fight or flee. 

But when it’s traffic and deadlines, and our bosses and our spouses and our kids, it can really build up and flood our blood with cortisol. We’ve heard some about that, and people are now pushing pills to get rid of cortisol when really, if we could just get in touch with what’s going on in our bodies, and learn how to belly breathe we can fix this problem. This is such an easy, portable, free way to tap into what’s going on in our bodies. And then people can learn how to process stress and actually ground themselves in where they are, especially in the workplace. 

We have to work around people who maybe aren’t our favorite people. And so I do a lot of corporate trainings during the week. My wife is a dentist and so I got started doing that at her corporate gatherings. I do conferences and private conferences. I’ve done sweet 16 parties. I mean, I’ve spoken at sober retreats, you name it, I’ve done it. And I really just enjoy interacting with people in that way. Where they always come away and they say, wow, I really think I learned something new. I think that there’s a couple of simple facts that most people don’t understand about meditation. 

Because as I mentioned, that’s my real passion. I kind of trick people into learning about meditation by talking about stress, because meditation is that wonderful way for us to get rid of our stress. And I am just such a seeker, I wanted to know, why is it that meditation works. And I’ll give you a couple of facts….. all around us at every single moment, it doesn’t matter if we’re on top of the hill, or in a busy street the scientists have calculated that we have access to about several billions of bits of data. And the human brain is pretty amazing and can process around 11 million bits per second. But we’re only conscious of between 40 and 50 of the 11 million bits per second that our brains and our bodies have access to. So I did the math there, that means we’re conscious of .04% of everything that’s actually being processed by our brains and our bodies. And 99.96% of everything that’s available to us is being processed by our subconscious. 

Now we have five senses. And we have 11 million sensory receptors, the 10 million or so of the sensory receptors are dedicated to one sense, our eye site. So if you want to access to 99.96% of information that’s already inside of you shut off access to 10 million of the 11 million sensory receptors, ie. close your eyes and go inside. That’s where the magic is, that’s where the subconscious can begin to bubble up. 

Because we’re literally getting into the brainwaves where our subconscious lives, if we only stay in beta and beta is stressed, then we’re not going to ever be able to have access to that. The only time during waking hours when we drop into that subconscious state, which is the theta wave in between alpha and delta, which is where most meditation is. Deep sleep is theta. 

When some people are stressed, they like to drive, or they like to go and work on something that is repetitive. That’s because when we drop into repetitive things our subconscious is in control because you don’t have to think about it anymore. That allows the subconscious to bubble up, but our eyes are still open. And so think about how much more powerful it is to actually close the eyes, and then go inside.

Todd McLaughlin

Yeah, good point. That’s interesting. Can you give me an example or an idea of when you decided or felt that you wanted to heal the trauma that you had experienced? Was there some sort of catalyst that I mean, I’m guessing that there probably was something inside that said, “Okay, I realized something has happened. But I’d prefer just not to look at it.” What was the catalyst that helped you to turn that corner and feel like you wanted to be brave and process and heal and go through the therapy to come out the other side?

Sara Webb

Great question. I mean, I’ve always known about what happened. It’s just that I repressed it, I told my sister I did not go to the police, I barely told anyone much less dealt with it myself. When I began to get sober, which started in the end of 2018, I didn’t actually succeed with continuous sobriety until the end of 2019. So it took me a little over a year, almost a year and a half to actually be sober, and then an event would happen and we have this in the general collective that like, alcohol can be used to de-stress, which is an absolute lie. It actually causes stress in the body. So it took me a little while, but once I started playing with sobriety and had bouts of sobriety, I realized most poignantly that I needed alcohol in order to be intimate with my now ex husband. And I knew what even though I was gay, through college and a little bit after college, I called myself bisexual, and I only dated women, but I repressed that because I wanted to have a baby and I knew that my very strict Southern Baptist parents would not accept me for who I am. And to this day, they do not accept me for who I am. So in answer to your question, yeah, when when we get sober a lot of people deal with anger that is kind of unexplained. They’re just not really sure why, but it’s because we have been repressing by drinking. And then we have no outlet to numb with. I didn’t have that initially. 

But what I did have was when I got re-married, and we started blending households, because I have a biological child, she has two you know, that’s, that’s no joke. And I started noticing that my go to response was anger, which, and I put out a reel on this recently, you know, usually anger is, is not actually a primary emotion, it’s a secondary emotion. And it indicates that there’s hurt underneath either sadness or fear usually. 

So I started seeing a transpersonal interpersonal hypnotherapist in order to deal with the anger. And that’s when memory surfaced. And I was able to deal with them in a really beautiful way. It wasn’t immediate, and it certainly wasn’t easy. But healing requires injury and healing hurt. The result is always worth it.

Todd McLaughlin

Wow. Well, I appreciate you being so honest and sharing your story. That’s incredible. I think it’s empowering, because I know that there’s obviously a lot of us who probably have experienced trauma. Well, I guess, like you said, there’s the “big T” and the “little t.” So would you say that everybody has had some sort of “little t” trauma? Like, for example, someone made fun of us on the playground? A million or two different things that have happened could have happened. How many of us have experienced the “big T” trauma? What do you think the percentages are? I mean, like half the world, a third of the world, one in 100? Because I just wonder that sometimes it seems like I don’t know that anybody could get through life without having some type of “big T” experience. But maybe that’s because if I do have experience, then I think well, maybe probably everyone has. Perhaps it’s a smaller minority a smaller group of people that have. Do you have any insights into that?

Sara Webb

I wish I had the statistics! I’m definitely going to look it up. But even if we just look at, like, reports of sexual trauma with women, it’s one in three. And I didn’t report and I know a lot of other people who didn’t. So if you just look at that, it’s a high percentage. And and let’s not diminish that “little T” trauma. 

Because it’s all relative, and vibrationally, if we just look at it. So everything that happens in our lives before the development of the prefrontal cortex would start around the age of 10. So everything from pretty much ages, like four to eight is when our brains are in that meditative state, we haven’t gone up into beta. Around the age of 10, is when we really fully start to inhabit beta. 

Everything before that our brains take in as beliefs, basic beliefs about how the world is so for somebody like me, I saw people drinking, I grew up outside of New Orleans. I mean, drinking is just what people do. And I’m sure that’s for a lot of the world, you know, it’s just it’s very common. And so one of the beliefs that I had is that alcohol is safe. And if you have a “little T” trauma, “big T” trauma, some uncle that habitually made fun of you, a person on the playground who did something that could be seen as traumatic when it’s done, even once or twice, we can carry that vibration that belief with us into our adulthood and continue to attract those things into our lives. Because it’s something that we need to heal.

So it doesn’t matter if it’s seemingly small, it might be perpetuating itself as to a lack of abundance in our lives or a thinking that no one likes us. Then that can continue to play out in the workplace. And, you know, social groups, it doesn’t matter where it is. Because we’re basically here to heal.

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Day 7 – No Shave Yoga Event – Yoga with David Miliotis

  
Yoga with David Miliotis

This weekend Native Yoga is hosting Ashtanga Yogi, David Miliotis, for a series of workshops and practice sessions. David is originally from coastal Los Angeles and he now resides in Orange County, California. He flew here for a return visit to Native Yoga Center and we feel really lucky to have him here.
  
I originally met David in Mysore, India practicing at the Ashtanga Yoga Research Center in 2004. I was set up next to him one morning and I was so inspired by his practice that I immediately afterward introduced myself to him. I learned then that he was living in Santa Barbara and that he was teaching Mysore practice there. I remember thinking that he seemed really down to earth and I appreciated the time he took to speak with me. 

  
Fast forward 10 years and a friend in South Florida reintroduced us and we invited him to come and teach here at Native last year. It was such a treat to have his perspective and skill at our studio that we are honored to have him return this weekend. 
During last nights class he took us through the Primary Series in a really fun and engaging manner. One thing that is obvious when practicing with David is that he has cultivated an impeccable connection with breath, bandha and drishti. He has the ability to verbally communicate the elements of internal anatomy in a practical fashion which produces a deep sense of connection between the breath and the perception of the mind. He also has a great ability to connect with the students and give pointers for all levels to help the engagement process. I really enjoyed the practice immensely.

  
Today we return for a session at 12-3pm titled Setting the Foundation: Breathing, Bandhas & the Niyamas and tomorrow, Sunday at 12-3pm for a workshop called Ascending the Mountain: Backbends from Primary into Intermediate.
David is a member of our team #yogabeardsunite and we are working together to raise money for https://www.no-shave.org/team/yogabeardsunite during the month of November. Get inspiration from David by checking out website at http://www.ashtangayogaorangecounty.com and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/AshtangaYogaOC/?fref=ts. 

The Evolution of Our Practice

The Evolution of Our Practice
Anytime we examine the process of evolution it is important to have a clear memory of the past. If we can distinctly recall our history and also take an assessment of where we are now, then it is possible to examine what has occurred and notice if and how we have progressed.

  
At some point, in the realm of yoga practice, we have the opportunity to reflect on how our practice has evolved. Regardless of how long we have been practicing this theory can hold true. The reality is that one would need to have at least two practice sessions complete to be able to observe the progression of the practice. We can notice how our perception has shifted from one repetition to the next. This ability seems to become enhanced the longer we are involved in and with a practice.
Do you remember the first time you encountered yoga? It is important to try to recall the feelings we had regarding our first experience. It is really interesting to try to recollect the reason why we decided to try practicing yoga in the first place. There are multiple reasons why we might find interest in trying yoga. Perhaps it is to try a new form of exercise, lose some weight, increase our flexibility and strength, or even to delve deeper into our understanding of spirituality and self inquiry. Regardless of the reason, if we can first become clear about the “why”, we can begin to see how we have grown since that time.

  
Do you feel like you have progressed since your first encounter with yoga? I feel progression is a lot easier to measure once you establish your self in a practice for a long duration. Exactly how long? That will depend on each person. I remember the first time I tried yoga it was in the form of Mantra yoga and it required chanting words using japan mala(108 beads strung together to serve as a tool to keep focussed on the mantra recitation). I quickly found that it wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be but I did notice some positive effects very soon thereafter. I did not stick with it though for any continuation so it is challenging to say how effective it could of been had I made a daily ritual of it. I mention this because progression seems to rely heavily on endurance with dedication to one form of yoga for an extended span of time.
If we were to come to the realization that we do not feel like we have progressed this would probably be due to two factors. One, are we still practicing? The second being, do we have faith the practice will take us to our goal? If the answer to the first question is no, then I think it is probably obvious as to why we don’t see any transformation. If the answer is yes and we still do not feel like there is an unfolding of development then the big question becomes, do we believe in the method of practice to begin with? I say this is the “big question” because believing in what you are doing is one of the golden keys to success. If from the core of your being you feel that your method of practice is sound and true, then a favorable outcome is bound to occur. Faith constitutes a cornerstone in the path to progress.

  
I found myself reflecting on these questions today as we are coming to the close of our Third Series Teacher Training with Tim Miller. I feel like these two weeks have been an incredible opportunity for growth and development. When I first started practicing asana yoga I undoubtedly was attracted to the challenge of the posture practice. I was enthralled with trying to deepen my poses purely in the realm of the physical. To be very honest I am excited about this aspect of the practice more than ever before. Exposing myself to this group of practitioners has inspired me beyond measure. As I probe the question a bit more deeply though I can’t help but feel that my understanding of yoga and its purpose is what is truly evolving. Is it because of the asana I am feeling so much indebtedness? Perhaps it is because Tim has opened me up to a multitude of complimentary practices (asana, pranayama, bhakti, kirtan and mantra) that I am feeling such a deep sense of gratitude? Regardless, I feel that my whole focus has radically shifted from a place of desiring progress through the physical to a place of thankfulness for the transpersonal. That is an appreciation with states or areas of consciousness beyond the limits of personal identity. In some miraculous way I feel that I have been able to shed a few of my inhibitions and the moral support of the gathering of these folks has given me a renewed sense of accomplishment. Thank you for this as I am deeply beholden.

A Day of Rest and Reflection

  
Today is Saturday and our day of rest from asana practice. One thing that I really love about the Ashtanga method is that it is recommended to take at least one day off per week and to not practice on the new or full moon. Sometimes people can get obsessed with the asana practice and perhaps if this rule was not in place some people would hammer out an intense practice every single day. Personally that would not be an issue for me. The fact that there is a prescribed 6 day a week practice schedule is something that takes a lot of time to really cultivate and maintain. I also think that no practice on moon days, the new and full moon, is the best invention since sliced bread. I adhere to the Saturday off idea mainly because that is what I learned from Guruji and Tim, but it is good to note that you can make that day any day you choose. Yet still the 6 days, “you do!”
When Tamara and I went to Mysore we asked the assistance of someone to help us find a room to rent while we were there. The gentle Indian man said “I can’t help you tomorrow because it is moon day, yet the following day I can.” In this case he was not an “asana” practitioner (I don’t think) but he took moon days off from work anyhow. This blew our mind. We had never come across this concept before. When we were practicing Bikram yoga never once was this notion mentioned, nor was there any talk of breathing either but that is an entirely different story. I have to admit that right away I thought that moon days were a brilliant concept regardless that it was a foreign idea. Now as a 6 day a week practitioner (as best I can as a family man), I think moon days are incredible. Now every two weeks, you get a day to rest your body as well as the Saturday. I think that the element of the fixed day off one day per week, combined with the extra two moon days off on alternating intervals, creates a variation of change within a consistent structure. 
If you don’t adhere to this rule you probably are thinking, “Todd is getting a little out there.” I promise though that if you try this it will seem like the most remarkable concept ever created. That is little background story of why then, today we took the morning off to rest. We had Teacher Training session today from 1 PM to 6 PM yet Tim still honored this tradition by giving us a five hour tour of the third chapter of the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. It was remarkable as those of you who have met Tim can imagine. In his First and Second Series Teacher Trainings he covers the first and second chapters of the Yoga Sutras. So this was the first time I have had the privilege of having him go sutra by sutra and take the time to allow us to share our thoughts about what they could potentially mean. Reading the Yoga Sutras can be a lifetime of study because they are challenging to decipher. The Sanskrit language allows multiple translations for every word so that over the years many translators have given different meanings for each sutra. There is usually a fairly common thread amongst most meanings, non the less, they can be quite confusing to contemplate at first glance. That is what it is so interesting to have someone who has been contemplating this over for some thirty years to give their take on their meaning. Since meeting Tim and having been inspired to try this myself. I have enjoyed this process even though sometimes it just seems so perplexing. The cool thing is that the theory informs the practice and the practice informs the theory. How I viewed the Yoga Sutras and their interpretations has changed radically over the years. As I learn a new concept from them I try to apply it to my yoga and meditation practice. As my yoga and meditation practice evolves my understanding of the meaning behind the words also transforms. 
We covered a lot today yet there was one that I particularly enjoyed. Sutra III.27 states Bhuvana jnanam surye samyamat. It can be translated as: By samyama on the Sun comes knowledge of the entire universe. The word samyama means the “catch-all” process of concentration, meditation and absorption (dharana, dhyana and samadhi). Tim stated, “The sun is the eye of the world. If we become one with the eye of the world we can see all things.” I really liked this view point. The concept of the sun being the eye of the world reminds me of the idea that stars are just the holes to heaven (Jack Johnson fans will catch that one). To keep this practical I feel this sutra is beneficial because it encourages us to open our minds to greater possibility. There is the potential that we can learn from the Yoga Sutras and experience for ourselves the liberation that the great sages have been trying to verbalize and describe for eons.